06 March 2023
Migrant Filipinos are deeply interested in public transportation in the Philippines and policies surrounding it. Most of our families and relatives are commuters. Many returned migrants have become either drivers or operators of either jeepneys or FX, as shown by the famous jeepney signage “Katas ng Saudi” or “Fruit of Saudi Work.” Many among us dream of returning to a country with a functional public transport system, not a transportation crisis.
Modernization of the transport system should be pro-driver and pro-people, and should not result in drivers’ displacement from their livelihood and higher costs for the riding public. By forcing expensive imported jeepneys worth PhP 2.5-2.8 million (USD 45,000-50,000) per unit on drivers and the public, the Bongbong Marcos regime is making it clear that its so-called modernization drive will result in displacement of drivers and higher costs for commuters.
We migrant Filipinos support drivers and their advocates and allies in holding a transport strike in this week. We are glad that many Filipinos are supportive of the transport strike, as shown by postings and reactions on social media. The transport strike’s demands are legitimate and just. The jeepney phaseout should be stopped and the government should consult the transportation sector and the commuting public on the way forward. The Bongbong Marcos regime should listen to, and heed, the demands of the country’s PUV drivers.
We condemn vice-president and Department of Education secretary Sara Duterte’s statement that the transport strike is “communist-inspired.” This accusation is a desperate attempt to change the conversation by eliding the burning issue and legitimate demands involved. It shows that she considers the demands of the jeepney drivers and commuting public as abominable, something only the sworn opposition to her government can embrace.
Sara Duterte’s statement shows a fascist mindset that brooks no opposition and is fatal to democracy. Proving herself to be a true daughter of her father, she should not be leading the DepEd or any government agency at all.
We condemn the Bongbong Marcos regime for failing to address the difficult issues faced by migrants and all Filipinos at present — rising prices, low wages, high joblessness, persistent landlessness, among others. It is busy pushing for false solutions – PUV Modernization Program, Constitutional Convention that are detrimental and actually additional burdens for migrants and Filipinos. It should stop neglecting the real issues and expect migrant Filipinos to work harder in order to send more remittances home to our families in need. ###